Last updated: February 15. 2013 8:16PM - 541 Views

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Robert Vincent Semenza, 65, of Old Forge, died peacefully on February 26, 2012 while surrounded by his loving wife, children, grandchildren and entire family after a courageous battle with stomach cancer. He was an inspiration to all. He and his wife, the former Marguerite Boccolini, celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on October 30, 2011. Their years together were built on unconditional love and they instilled this in their children. His family meant everything.


Born November 1, 1946, he was the loving son of the late Lawrence V. and Mary Rosi Semenza. A graduate of Old Forge High School, class of 1964, he received an undergraduate degree from Valley Forge Military Academy Junior College in 1966 and a bachelor's degree in sociology from King's College in 1969. Following graduation, he began his career at St. Michael's School for Boys as a counselor. In 1970, he was appointed to the position of Employment Interviewer at the CEP in Wilkes-Barre for the Department of Labor and Industry. He worked for the Department for 35 years, during which he received numerous awards and promotions. He received the Keystone Making a Difference Award in 1999. He was recognized in NEPA Business Weekly for People on the Move in November 2003. He retired in March of 2005 as the Site Administrator of CareerLink, formerly known as The Job Center, a job in which he oversaw more than 70 employees in various agencies, including Labor and Industry, higher education, training and vocational rehabilitation. He was also the proprietor of Main Street South Restaurant and Pep O' Brien's Night Club, both in Old Forge.


Robert was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, great uncle, godfather and an amazing friend to all. He was extremely devoted to his family, especially his children and grandchildren of whom he was exceptionally proud. He had an outstanding sense of humor, always with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. Very respected in the community, he was an active member of numerous social and political organizations, always having in mind the best interests of the town and its residents. He was currently serving his second term on Old Forge Council as vice president. He was instrumental in many projects in the borough. His most recent accomplishment was developing the Park and Recreation Area on Marion Street that will benefit all age groups in the borough of Old Forge. He served on the Old Forge Recreation Board for many years.


He has been the President of the Moosic Old Forge Men's Softball League which began in 1986. He also managed and played on many teams where he was a very intense competitor. He has been a part of many championship teams. He devoted much of his time to developing the Pagnotti Park Complex in 1988, where he spent endless hours maintaining the softball field which he treated like his own. In January 2012, Old Forge Borough Council bestowed the honor of naming the softball field at Pagnotti Park as The Robert V. Semenza Softball Field. He accepted the honor with great humility and stated "This was one of the great moments in my life. I was completely humbled to think I was being honored for something that was just a part of my life."


Besides his passion for softball, he was an avid golfer and a huge New York Giants fan, as well as a fan of all sports. He loved all holidays spent with his family, especially the 4th of July. His dog Rudy meant the world to him. He and his wife enjoyed traveling to Myrtle Beach and many other places throughout the years.


Also surviving are three children, Gina Sallavanti and husband Dr. Armando, Michelle Zaykowski, and Robert Semenza Jr. and wife Sunshine, all of Old Forge. He was the grandfather of Mia and Armando Sallavanti, Danny and Jeremy Zaykowski, Joseph Macciocco and Robert Semenza III.


He was the brother of Mary Lou Febbo (David), Larry Semenza (MaryAnn), all of Old Forge, and Rosarie Marino (Louis), Scranton, and brother-in-law Paul Boccolini (Elisabeth), New Jersey, and many nieces and nephews, David Febbo Jr., Mary Lynn Bartoletti (godchild), Larry Semenza, Deirdre Sargent, George Semenza, Lisa Franklin, Bernadine Miller, Ejvind Boccolini, Linda Marino-Brooks, Luanne Marino (godchild) and Laura DiMauro. He was also the godfather of Joseph Dominick Jr.


He was also preceded in death by his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Paul and Jennie Galletti Boccolini; and his nephew Paul Boccolini III.


The family would like to sincerely thank Dr. Christian Adonizio, Dr. William Heim, Dr. John Kutz, Dr. Jack Pryor, Dr. Terrence Lenehan, and a very personal thank-you to Robert's son-in-law Dr. Armando Sallavanti, who gave endless, unconditional care. We would also like to thank the second floor, fourth floor, and ICU nursing staff at Moses Taylor Hospital for their compassion and excellent care.


The funeral was held March 1 from Louis V. Ciuccio Funeral Home, Old Forge, with Mass in Prince of Peace Parish / St. Mary's Church, Old Forge. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery, Old Forge.


Memorial contributions may be made to the family of Robert V. Semenza for the research and cure of stomach cancer.


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